We are entering week 3 of this year’s Top 25 under 25. Kicking off our top 10 is Jesse Puljujarvi
How did Puljujarvi get to number 10 in our Top 25? Let’s check with the panel.
Jesse Puljujarvi is a prospect that should be ranked at least four or five spots higher than he is today, but there’s been plenty of things that have happened over the course of the last three years keeping that from happening. No matter which side of the coin you’d like to put the blame, it’s a damn shame that we’re here today talking about where this prospect is at in his career.
The fourth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Puljujarvi was passed over by the Columbus Blue Jackets for Pierre-Luc Dubois. As soon as Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen selected Quebec native Dubois, I leapt off my barstool because the Oilers could only select Jesse Puljujarvi at fourth overall.
Since then, Puljujarvi has struggled mightily at the NHL level. In 2018-19, Dubois finished his second season in Columbus. It was a season that saw him accrue 27 goals (27-34-61) in 82 games. In 2018-19, Jesse Puljujarvi appeared in 46 games and notched 9 points (4-5-9). He had half a minute in Bakersfield (four games). The 2018-19 season has been eerily similar to Puljujarvi’s entire playing career in North America. What’s gone wrong?
A lot, really.
Fast forward to today. The player hasn’t accepted his qualifying offer, and his agent has asked for a trade. Just today, he signed a one year deal to play for Karpat in the Finnish league. He can return to the Oilers by signing a deal, but that seems less and less likely every day.
It’s easy to point at the player, and it’s easy to point at the team. His numbers are frustrating, having scored just 37 points in 139 career games. On the other hand, it’s going to be tough to get much of anything going if you’re strapped to Milan Lucic for most of your three years pro.
If you’re like me and you believe that the club has a patterned behaviour of rushing their forward prospects to the dance, you’ll see that Jesse Puljujarvi played a scant 53 games in three seasons in the AHL. It’s important to suggest that he would have benefitted wildly with a year (or more) in the AHL.
If your highly touted fourth overall pick is having trouble at the NHL level, let him develop. Scratching him (or pinning him on a checking line) isn’t going to get you what you so badly want. And really, what do the Oilers want? What were their expectations?
The best case scenario for Jesse Puljujarvi and the Oilers is that Puljujarvi blows the doors off with Karpat. Maybe he has a change of heart and signs on with the Oilers before his out clause of December 1st takes effect. Otherwise, this is the last mention of him on our Top 25.